Congratulations to Marc Anderson of GTR Return to Life p/b Streamline on winning the CTT Scottish District Olympic Time Trial Championship which was incorporated in the classic Tour of the Meldons.
But first, a wee bit of Meldons history courtesy my old chum, John ‘Ginger’ Gray:
‘In 1956 the first Meldons mountain time trial was run – it was called the Harry Jeffrey Memorial Trophy, it started at the foot of Shiplaw with grass in the middle of the road.
Joe Christinson, Comet RC won it with a 56:17 the next year there was snow and he won again with 57:43.
Christinson went on to join the Viking professional team, the following year The Meldons was won by Kenny Laidlaw (Musselburgh Roads CC) who went on to ride the Tour de France.
But with more traffic on the road the start was changed to the top of Shiplaw with the finish there too.
After a few years the road was changed; the right angle bend then left angle bend before Romano Bridge were removed rendering the road straight down to Romano Bridge.
Other winners ‘back in the day,’ – Stewart Sutherland, Musselburgh Roads Cycling Club, the late Irvine Morrison, Edinburgh Road Club, Brian Temple of East of Scotland Clarion, Comet Road Club and Velo Sportiv won it three times, Ronnie Boa Comet RC won it twice and held the record with a 52:55.
In those days for a ‘cuppa’ there was just the Black Barony or the Café in Peebles – or George Pennel’s bike shop café with tea in black cups!’
With thanks to Ginger.
Moving on to 2022 we caught up with this year’s winner a few days after his ride:
Congratulations, Marc – tell us about yourself please.
“I’m from Darvel in East Ayrshire, 44 years-old, married with three kids and I have my own wee land drainage business which involves a lot of hours and physical labour.”
How long have you been cycling?
“It’ll be 14 or 15 years; I knew a lot of boys in the local Loudoun Road Club and started going out with them, I was holding my own and so I started to ride some races.”
How long have you been with GTR?
“For two years, I was with Loudoun right up until then but there aren’t many members who race; GTR gave me the opportunity to ride team time trials and be part of a team chasing team prizes.”
Prior to the Meldons what were your best results?
“I did OK in road races, I won one and had a number of top 10 finishes which moved me up to second category.
“But I had a couple of crashes and turned to time trials, I remember one Sunday where I crashed and was covered in road rash but had to turn out to work on the Monday morning.
“I got more into the time trials and like the aspect that you can see yourself improve – my best ‘10’ is a 20:12 but I’d really like to do a ’19.’”
Had you ridden the Meldons course before?
“I rode in 2018, I can’t remember specifically what I did but it was OK, I was sub-hour.
“This year it was super-fast down the valley, I was spinning out but it was very hard over the Meldons, you had to push hard on the descent too.
“It’s a good course, I like it but didn’t go into the race thinking I could win, it was just when I started hear what my team mates times were…”
How do you pace your rides – watts, heart rate?
“A bit of both, I was looking at Strava and I wasn’t one of the fastest on the early, rapid sections of the course, the hillier parts suited me better.
“I wasn’t getting any time checks so I didn’t know how I was going compared to the rest of the field.”
You’ve stepped a level this year, why?
“I’m a bit more motivated, the chat and motivation within GTR is good and I did a bit of ‘Zwifting’ over the winter, that may have helped?”
Tell us about your training.
“I train around the Muirkirk circuit, it has a long history as being a classic Louden Road Club loop – it was one of Jim Gladwell’s favourites.
“I do a bit on the turbo but still go out in winter even if the weather is bad – just not as far…
“It’s not something folks are aware of but I have Crohn’s disease, it causes inflammation of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.
“Fortunately it’s not too problematic for me as far as my cycling goes – I’m asthmatic too but I think that the fitness I’ve built on the bike with my improved cardio-vascular condition has helped a lot.
“But these things affect individuals differently and I’m lucky that they haven’t hampered me too much.”
Do you have a coach?
“No, I just do what works for me, my day job is very active, I burn a lot of energy, I’m doing around 20,000 steps every day – I don’t think that does my general fitness level any harm?”
Tell us about your bike.
“It’s a Planet X Exocet, I seem to go OK on it.
“I ride the very fast ‘Streamline’ composite wheels which are made by my GTR club mate, Daniel Cain.
“I ride tubeless – Continental GP 5000 – you can run them at lower pressures which gives more comfort over rough road surfaces.
“I ride an Ultegra double chainset with a 52 ring and 11-up cassette, a 52 is small compared to the chainrings some of my club mates but I like to maintain a good cadence rather than grind it round.”
Your position looks well sorted.
“I haven’t really got too technical as far as that goes, I think I could do with getting my head down a bit?
“I’ve taken advice from my team mates but haven’t been to a wind tunnel or anything like that.”
What’s the rest of 2022 about?
“Doing the best I can; I have the CTT ‘10’ champs next weekend and then the Loch Ken time trial, I missed it last year and am looking forward to that. [Marc finished at Loch Ken with the 3rd fastest time, ed.]
“I’m also looking forward to the TTT champs and I’d like to dip below 20 minutes for a ’10.’”
With thanks to Marc and GTR ‘Capo’ Stevie Blom for connecting us with Marc.